WASHINGTON — Twitter said that tweets wishing for President Donald Trump's death or serious harm are against the policies of the company. The statement was made Friday night following his positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Early Friday morning, the president tweeted that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. Later that day, a feverish and fatigued President Donald Trump was flown to Walter Reed military hospital for treatment of COVID-19, as new cases emerged among some of his top advisers and allies.
Many people on Twitter, including former Vice President Joe Biden, wished him a quick and speedy recovery. However, many others did the opposite, saying they hope Trump dies from the virus. To date, COVID-19 has killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S.
In response, Twitter on Friday confirmed that the negative posts are against the company's policy. It said, "tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed."
It added that it doesn't mean all accounts will be suspended.
The social media platform pointed out its general guidelines and policies which highlight abusive behavior. The policy is defined as users engaging "in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm."
In a statement to VICE, a spokesperson said that some may have their accounts put into "read only" mode if they openly hope for Trump’s death on the site.
"Subsequent violations will lead to longer read-only periods and may eventually result in permanent suspension. If an account is engaging primarily in abusive behavior, we may permanently suspend the account upon initial review," Twitter's policy reads.
Some users claimed the statement was hypocritical, including a few of the progressive Democratic congresswomen known as "The Squad." They responded to Twitter's response saying that they wished the same policy was put into place for them.
"Seriously though, this is messed up. The death threats towards us should have been taking more seriously by [Twitter]," Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "So... you mean to tell us you could‘ve done this the whole time?"
Instead of making a public statement, Rep. Ayanna Pressley just replied to Twitter's tweet with, "Please DM me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.